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Thigpen Library Research Guides

History: Introduction

Find information sources for use in history assignments or to learn more about a history topic.

This page gets you started with research for a history assignment. Here you will find general information on finding and using journal articles and books.

For resources specific to a particular course look at these pages in this guide: 1) African American History (HIST 2060), 2) Tennessee History (HIST 2030), 3) United States History (HIST 2010& HIST 2020), and 4) World History (HIST 2310 & HIST 2320).

Journal articles

 Professionals publish their research in journals to share it with other professionals in their field. Journal articles use the scholarly language of their discipline or field of study. The article will provide verifiable evidence to support the research, i.e.   references. 

Use articles from scholarly journals for your history research project. A scholarly journal is also referred to as an academic or peer-reviewed journal.

CAUTION When a journal article is required as a source for your research project your professor typically means a research article. Be aware that journals also include articles like brief reports, comments on previously published articles, book reviews, obituaries, and letters to the editor.

Find articles from journals in the library's databases.

  • Use full-text articles; abstracts are not acceptable sources.
  • Limit your search to "articles" in the database's advanced search to eliminate other article types.

These databases are the recommended resources to begin a search for history articles:

Books

  Books are an excellent information source for most history research assignments. Use reference books to learn about your topics or related topics before searching for journal articles.

The library has both physical and eBooks on a variety of history events and historical topics.

Use Pioneer Search - In the Library to find books on the shelves of Thigpen Library in Gallatin. Books from Thigpen Library can be sent to other campus libraries.

Find eBooks by searching our eBook collection (EBSCOhost).

   Unlike journal articles and monographs*, reference books do not provide analysis or interpretation. These books provide facts. An encyclopedia is an example of a reference book. Wikipedia is an online reference source.

Use reference books to learn about your topics or related topics before searching for journal articles. Use the library's online reference collection Credo Reference to learn about an historical event, time period, or person.

* A monograph is a "book which is a detailed study of only one subject." SOURCE: Collins Dictionary.com. One subject could mean a book on the Civil Rights movement in the United States from 1950 to 1965 or a book on Cesar Chavez's work as an activist for farm workers.


This guide recommends library resources, digital archives, and websites relevant to the topics taught in History courses at Vol State. The recommended resources are credible and suitable for academic assignments but these resources may not meet the criteria for your assignment.

Ask a librarian for help using these resources or finding additional resources. Ask your professor if a particular information source is appropriate for the assignment.

Images used on this guide are 1) available on the public domain, 2) created from a licensed resource, and/or 3) licensed under a Creative Commons license and used according to the terms in the license.